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Fr. Robert Barron – Adam and Eve “theological poetry” June 20, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, error, foolishness, General Catholic, priests, sadness, scandals.

Some time ago, I attracted some ire when I blogged on Fr. Robert Barron’s take on eschatology.  In one of his many short video interviews, he stated his belief that hell was empty, or very nearly so.  He stated in the comments that an atheist, acting morally within his atheist framework, could be saved.  So much for “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through me.”  I guess we don’t need to know the Father, or even have a firm desire to, in order to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. 

There was another thing I mentioned at that time that I didn’t really dwell on, then.  But, since that time, I’ve learned more and done more thinking, and I think the part I skipped over is just as troubling, if not more so, than his seeming endorsement of universal salvation.  This is Barron’s take on Adam and Eve.  According to Barron:

Adam. Now, don’t read it literally. We’re not talking about a literal figure. We’re talking in theological poetry. Adam: the first human being . . .

Goodbye Original Sin!  If Adam and Eve are just mythical figures, then how, and when, did sin enter into the human race?   In fact, Venerable Pope Pius XII decried this view of Adam as a mythical figure as erroneous and deadly for Catholic Doctrine in his encyclical Humani Generis:

For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.


Therefore, whatever of the popular narrations have been inserted into the Sacred Scriptures must in no way be considered on a par with myths or other such things, which are more the product of an extravagant imagination than of that striving for truth and simplicity which in the Sacred Books, also of the Old Testament, is so apparent that our ancient sacred writers must be admitted to be clearly superior to the ancient profane writers

I should note that Church councils have specifically declared the reality of Original Sin as Dogma, as they have the fact that souls do indeed go to hell.  

I was reminded of this problem with Barron’s statement when I was listening to a sermon by Fr. Phil Wolfe on atheist attacks against the Church.  As a matter of fact, going back well over 200 years, one of the foremost vehicles atheists have used to attack the Church is through the denial of Adam and Eve as our real first parents who fell through Original Sin.  One of the  atheist creatures Fr. Wolfe quoted claimed that destroying belief in Adam and Eve was the best method to destroy belief in Christ, “to leave Him alone and broken beneath the cross with no one to believe in Him”, since the purpose for His Incarnation had been destroyed.  I don’t recall the atheists exact words, but he gloated about the stinking, smoldering wreck of the Church that would be left if only belief in Adam and Eve could be rooted out and destroyed. 

For, if Adam and Eve did not exist, then Original Sin never occured, and if Original Sin never occured, why would Christ need to be incarnated, and if not incarnation, then, at most, Christ was just a man who said some wonderful things, and, at worst, the entire Christian Faith is founded on a myth, a lie, even.

Other bloggers have noted the grave problems with Barron’s statement.  Dave Armstrong reminds of statements from Romans and 1 Corinthians that are both beautiful and definitive statements of our need for salvation through Christ our Lord, due to the sin of Adam.  He also reminds that our Lord Himself in St. Matthew certainly seems to accept Adam – or, at least, Abel – as real figures, not allegories of human archtypes.

This is what I meant yesterday when I claimed that Fr. Barron was one of the most dangerous modernist exegetes around. Because of his, at least seeming, erudition, his admitted knowledge in many areas, and the fact that he does give some solid catechesis, many look to him as a wonderful, orthodox source on any topic.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and I have noted a sort of modernist tint to many of his views, and a definite worldliness that I’m not certain is appropriate in the current culture.  But, more than anything, it’s the glaring errors on core issues that is the greatest problem, for even though they may seem small or quibbling to others, they are anything but.

God’s Ways are not our ways.  They are so far above our ways that even 2000 years of study by some of the most brilliant minds in history has only slightly pierced the veil.  As a result, Catholic Doctrine is interconnected in ways that are often not immediately apparent.  So, while it may seem “reasonable,” at least in the light of our materialist, increasingly atheist culture, to accept today’s scientific theories as fact and chuck Adam and Eve, such a belief has massive consequences that amount to the total destruction of the Faith, as I tried to illustrate above. 

It is also interesting to me to compare these two very problematic areas of Barron’s belief: rejection of Adam and Eve as real, and universal salvation.  They sort of go together, don’t they?  If Original Sin never occured, then all of salvation history is radically different and one could surmise then that most everyone goes to Heaven.  That is to say – I don’t think these are accidental statements.  They actually form core parts of Barron’s belief and work.  And they happen to be terribly destructive of Christ’s unique role as Savior – I would say, they are almost Arian in their nature.  Although, this blog argues that they are more semi-Origenist, but it’s a small difference. 

The major reason modernism came to be as a philosophy in religion was to attempt to force Christian revelation into current views of science.  If what passes for science these days says X is true, and Christian belief says Y, then Christian belief must be wrong and changed to fit into the accepted scientific theories of the day.  Pope St. Pius X goes on at length regarding this in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, his brilliant tome against modernism.  Here again, Barron appears to accept “scientific” views regarding creation against Catholic Doctrine.  Thus, the modernism.


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